Tyne & Wear

Stanley's Scott Tony Smith jailed after car-flip hedge smash

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Media captionThe car narrowly missed a van before losing control at a junction

A banned driver who flipped his car over a hedge after reaching almost 100mph with a four-year-old passenger inside has been jailed for 12 months.

Scott Tony Smith, from Stanley, County Durham was trying to escape from police when he crashed in October.

Smith, 23, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and child cruelty and was sentenced at Durham Crown Court.

The three occupants of the car escaped with minor injuries.

The judge said it was a "miracle" no-one was killed.

Video taken from the police car's on-board camera was played at Durham Crown Court before Smith was sentenced.

'Bairn's in car'

It emerged the boy was only strapped in with an adult's seatbelt, rather than a child safety seat.

A woman was also in the car and told police she begged Smith to stop, saying: "The bairn's in the car, but he replied 'I know, I'm sorry'."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Scott Tony Smith was jailed for a year

Police began following Smith after reports of a car being driven erratically in Stanley on 29 October.

An officer started to follow him and Smith immediately sped up, leading police on a three-minute high-speed chase, through the villages of The Middles and Craghead.

The patrol car had to reach 97mph to keep up with the MG.

Smith narrowly missed a van at about 80mph, before losing control at a junction and flipping the car over a hedge.

Durham Police said the pursuit would probably have been called off if the officer had known a child was on board.

Judge Robert Adams told Smith: "You could have killed somebody. It is a miracle you did not."

"This is the first time you will lose your liberty. I hope it emphasises the risks you posed to other people."

Smith, who was banned from driving in March, suffered from mental health problems and "is a young man who has limitations", his barrister said.

He has now been banned from driving for two years.

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